Hospitals face chronic shortages of injectable opioids. The COVID-19 pandemic made things worse.

injection
Vizient, a group purchasing organization that negotiates lower prices with drug manufacturers, sent recommendations that the Food and Drug Administration expand access to drugs heavily used with ventilator patients.

For years, hospitals chased supplies, sometimes resorting to inferior substitutes. The shortfall grew so dire in 2018 that a drugmaker sent letters advising hospitals they could use batches of opioid syringes potentially containing hazardous contaminants – so long as they filtered each dose.

[Editor’s note: Opioid pills and patches have been heavily used during the ongoing US overdose epidemic. Hospitals have been dealing with shortages of these painkillers in an injectable form. Now the COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand.]

Then the novel coronavirus struck, and demand for injectable opioids exploded. By April, more than 16,000 COVID-19 patients a day were on ventilators.

Underlying the persistent shortages – and the present crisis – are the basic economics of the American drug industry. The market discourages production of low-margin hospital injectable opioids in favor of high-profit prescription versions.

Related article:  How will fall sports fare during the pandemic? Few remember the 1968 Hong Kong flu roiled football and basketball

Though deficiencies in the supply of injectable opioids had long been recognized, U.S. drug makers, hospitals, regulators and lawmakers failed to fix the problem and were caught unprepared for a pandemic that suddenly and dramatically escalated demand, Reuters found.

Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, said she had pushed for new incentives to encourage manufacturing of drugs at risk of shortage earlier this year, but federal agencies told her they did not want to pursue substantive action amid the pandemic. “This is a really important issue, and the coronavirus has really shined a light on it,” Collins told Reuters.

Read the original post

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend